By Phil Caplan, Date: 14/2/14

The Rugby League European Federation Board of Directors has met for the first time in 2014 to discuss some of the key issues facing the federation following the successful 2013 Rugby League World Cup.

Following the meeting, the Board issued the following statement:

“The RLEF is keen for the RL International Federation to conclude its deliberations on the international calendar so that we can implement our own for the northern hemisphere. Furthermore, the RLEF supports the RLIF’s application for SportAccord membership this year. It is imperative for many of our members that rugby league is recognised and bolsters its international legitimacy. In many cases, government recognition and funding depends on SportAccord recognition and it is only right and proper that rugby league assumes its position alongside other major global sports.”

The Directors also accepted the Hellenic Federation of Rugby League as an Affiliate Member of the RLEF. HFRL president Tasos Pantazidis commented: “This decision for the Greek Rugby League is a vindication of toil, effort and successful development. This recognition is certainly not the end, but the launch of more intensive efforts. Achieving rugby league’s prevalence as a sport in Greece and in Europe is a common goal which can only be achieved if we work collectively and with a visionary plan. This is the objective we will serve from now on.”

New RLEF Director
New Independent Director Paul Nicholson, appointed in late December following a four-month recruitment process, attended his first meeting. Paul has extensive experience in media, events, sponsorship and television, including production and rights sales, and is now a media owner and consultant. He has worked extensively with governing bodies, including FIFA, as well as leading commercial sports agencies worldwide. He is the Chief Executive Officer of InsideWorldFootball.

“It is an honour to be given the opportunity to contribute to rugby league in Europe,” he said. “We are a proud, passionate and inclusive sport with a huge amount to offer. The RLEF has serious ambition for the sport in terms of development on the pitch and commercially off it. There is a lot to be done and some obvious challenges ahead. I am looking forward to picking up on the work already undertaken and to help to drive RLEF forward. This is an important time for our growth and to build on the platform provided by success of the World Cup.”

RLEF chairman Maurice Watkins added: “Paul was one on a long list of impressive applicants and we welcome him to the Board at this exciting time for European rugby league. We are sure that our visibility and commercial strength will increase through Paul’s involvement.”